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Virginia health officials discuss vaccine efforts

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As of today Virginia has administered nearly 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, totaling to about one third of the number of vaccines distributed to the state.

The Virginia Department of Health vaccine coordinator said there are issues that must be tackled to keep the public informed and safe from the Novel Coronavirus.

Starting with clarification of doses being administered and distributed, he said there's an obvious gap.

"There are a large number of doses that actually have been given. They've actually been administered to vulnerable communities. But that data has not been entered," said VDH Vaccine Coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula.

He says future allocations of vaccines depend on clear and accurate reporting of vaccination data.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was recently given the green light by the FDA to expand the criteria of those receiving the vaccine for emergency use.

"To include individuals who are 65 and older and adults who are 64 down to 16 who have underlying conditions," Avula said.

With the expansion of the 1B category, and the lack of resources--he says it will take some time before mass clinics are available for the general population-- particularly in Southwest Virginia.

"I hope that in that part of the state as well as everywhere that we really allow our folks that are most vulnerable, that are really at highest risks of COVID complications, of hospitalizations, of deaths, that we allow them to go first," Avula said.

Once an influx of the vaccine is available for all residents, Dr. Daniel Carry said he hopes to see a shift in those eager to be vaccinated.

"Most seniors are saying yes to the vaccine and we really need to encourage that among other populations," said the Virginia Sec. of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Daniel Carey.

He says the younger population is just as prone to transmitting this virus to others.

If you have a story idea that you would like to share with Tiara Brown, email tbrown@wvva.com

Tiara Brown

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